Sportsman's ORV driving limitations
Due to the breach at Old Inlet, the sportsman's driving area is reduced to approximately 1¼ miles of the beach west of the Wilderness Visitor Center. Required permits may be purchased at this visitor center when staffed, for use through 12/31/2013. More »
New Backcountry Camping procedures
Reservations for required permits must be obtained through Recreation.gov. Due to the breach at Old Inlet, access to both east and west wilderness camping zones must now be from Davis Park or access points west, and involve a 2½ to 10 mile hike. More »
Threatened and Endangered Species
Since 1986, Fire Island National Seashore-together with other federal, state, and local governments, volunteers, and private organizations-has been preserving and monitoring critical habitats and open spaces for the protection of threatened and endangered shorebirds and coastal plants.
Two federally listed threatened and endangered (T & E) bird species are known to nest within Fire Island National Seashore. The piping plover (Charadrius melodus) is on the federal threatened and New York State endangered list. The roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) is federally and state endangered. The state-listed threatened least tern (Sternula antillarum) and the common tern (Sterna hirundo) also nest on Fire Island. The black skimmer (Rhynchops niger) and the osprey (Pandion haliaetus) are bird species of special concern in New York State.
The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was officially removed from the federally threatened list on August 8, 2007. Eagles continue to be protected by the 1940 Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Bald eagles are occasionally sighted in the national seashore. Its presence is recorded during the annual fall hawk watch by Fire Island Raptor Enumerators (FIRE) near the Fire Island Lighthouse.
Of more than 30 species of reptiles (turtles and snakes) and amphibians (frogs, toads and salamanders) known to live within or visit Fire Island National Seashore, five are listed as New York State endangered species or species of special concern,
Threatened and endangered sea turtles and marine mammals occasionally visit Fire Island.
The seabeach amaranth (Amaranthus pumilus) is a federally threatened annual plant species that grows on some of Fire Island National Seashore's beaches. Symbolic fencing is also installed for the protection of seabeach amaranth on the beach.
The seabeach knotweed (Polygonum glaucum) is a New York State rare plant that can be found on Fire Island.
Fire Island National Seashore's piping plover monitoring and protection program begins in March with a restriction on driving, pets and kites on portions of the beach. Symbolic fencing is installed to mark suitable plover habitat.
As nests are established, exclosures are constructed to protect both nest and eggs. After the chicks have fledged, restrictions on pets and kites are lifted, but the symbolic fencing is left in place for the protection of beach plants.
You Can Help
Three species of endangered whales may occur in the waters offshore of Fire Island: fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), humpback whale(Megaptera novaeangliae) and northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis).
Five species of sea turtles have been documented around Fire Island, although none nest in the area. The Kemp's ridley turtle (Lepidochelys kempii), leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), and hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) are federally endangered species. The loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas) are federally threatened.
Occasionally, a threatened or endangered species will wash ashore, where it may be rescued or recovered by the Riverhead Foundation, one of Fire Island National Seashore's partner organizations. Cold-stunned sea turtles are particularly vulnerable.
You Can Help
Visit the National Park Service's Nature & Science web site to learn more about Threatened and Endangered Species.
Did You Know?
The first Fire Island Lighthouse was built at the end of Fire Island in 1826. Today, the Fire Island Inlet is more than five miles west of this foundation. You can see the remnants of the first structure when you visit the present lighthouse, constructed in 1858. More...